"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Blenheim Palace - Part 2

The original gardens at Blenheim Palace were designed and constructed at the same time as the house. They were designed by Henry Wise (1653-1738) who was Royal Gardener to both Queen Anne and King George I. The garden design was based on the elaborate formal style of the time as seen at Versailles.

In the 18th century the 4th Duke employed Lancelot "Capability" Brown (1715-83) who was inspired by the romanticism of the Picturesque movement. His landscapes were designed to look completely natural but in fact were man-made.

The 9th Duke commissioned the French landscape architect Achille Duchene to design the Italian Garden and the water terraces.

Apologies in advance - there are a lot of photos!!!!!

Timothy having a rest before exploring the gardens and parkland.

After lunch we first of all walked around the Water Terraces which consist of 3 terraces and were created between 1925 and 1931.



Bernini's River-god fountain

Timothy making friends with an eagle statue.

Timothy looks a trifle uncertain about this cherub statue.

For a while we watched a cricket match taking place on a lawn near the house.


The Temple of Diana built by the 4th Duke and where Sir Winston Churchill proposed to Clementine in in 1908.

The Churchill Memorial Garden

where a 90 metre path shows milestones in the 90 years of Sir Winston's life.

We continued along the path to the Rose Garden seeing many beautiful trees.


The Rose Garden

We continued downhill and through the Arboretum which includes a Cedar of Lebanon planted by Capability Brown, which is believed to have the biggest girth for this species in the UK, together with a stand of cricket bat willows and incense cedars plus many other beautiful tree specimens. Across the lake in High Park there are also around 900 ancient English Oaks.

Eventually you reach The Grand Cascade with a Swiss bridge built by Lancelot Brown in the 1760's.



We walked back to the Water Terraces along the lakeside walk which was very picturesque and I would imagine would look particularly lovely in the autumn.




Finally, back at the Water Terraces - it was quite a long walk!

The Italian Garden which you can't enter as it is used as the family's personal garden (not sure I would fancy sitting out there during visiting hours with people gawping over the hedge!).

The Secret Garden

This was lovely with winding paths through miniature gardens and not too many people in here! It was first planted during the time of the 10th Duke and renovated with additional features in 2004 by the former Head Gardener, Trevor Wood, as part of the Battle of Blenheim tercentenary celebrations.

Then it was onto the Pleasure Gardens - I was hoping we could catch the little train - but B not happy that there was a charge so we walked!

Plenty of hollow old trees - great for young children.

This is an area for families with an adventure playground, exhibition and butterfly house plus a maze. Near the butterfly house there was a small garden and a lavender garden (sadly no longer in flower)

Butterflies and Zebra finches





By this stage my feet were really aching (oh the joys of getting older) so I sat and had a coffee while the rest of the family walked to the centre of the Marlborough Hedge Maze which is planted with 3000 yews and covers 1.8 acres.


This was a photo D took earlier in the day where the zoom on the bridge camera came in handy. It is the Doric Column of Victory which is located at the entrance to the Grand Avenue. It is 41 metres high and is topped by a lead statue of the First Duke and was constructed between 1727 and 1730.


We finally left at about 6.00 and luckily traffic on the way home wasn't too bad.

*D photos taken by D with the Canon bridge camera SX50

Reference - Guide Book to Blenheim Palace


amanda peters said...

Gosh again.. it's such an amazing place, don't think I have seen anything like it.. Thanks for all the photos it's been a wonderful post and the photos are brilliant.
I so would love to visit one day.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda for your lovely comment. It is pretty amazing - a lot to take in on one visit! I know I go to NT properties a lot but this in many ways was on a much larger scale I thought that many of their's. Shame about the crowds though :( Hope you can visit one day.

Pam said...

Just catching up on your posts about the palace, never apologise for lots of photos!! It's a beautiful place and aren't the old trees amazing! :)

Rosie said...

Your photo of the heron and female mallard is wonderful. You saw some amazing things on your long walk around the grounds no wonder you needed to rst your feet. The moder sculpture where the figures look as if they are weating 70s platform shoes is interesting, I couldn't enlarge enogh to read the label, do you know any more about it? The butterflies and finches look wonderful too. Looks as if Timothy preferred the eagle to the cherub:)

Julie @Dragonflygems said...

Wow look at all those magnificent trees. Great photos.. I've really enjoyed 'my visit' there through your blog, thank you. :o)

Toffeeapple said...

What a stoic you must be to manage to walk all that way.

The Butterflies and the Zebra finches are my favourite images. Who did the really rough sculpture?!

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks so much - so glad you enjoyed. Yes old trees my favourite - lovely walking through the arboretum and round the lake :)

Rosie - Thanks so much. Yes, I think you are right about Timothy - he looks most unhappy with the cherub!! I've cropped the photo and enlarged - information very blurred but did make out enough to do a google search. It is called "Untitled" and is by the German artist George Baselitz. According to the Victoria and Albert website who had the sculpture for a while it was created in response to Antonio Canova's neoclassical sculpture "The Three Graces" (1814-1817). Baselitz's sculpture is based on a childhood memory he had of 3 beautiful village ladies and it represents the traditional themes of the Three Graces - beauty, charm and joy which are depicted by linking arms and high heels (I agree they do look like platform shoes!!). It is made of bronze and his sculptures are influenced by African sculpture, medieval carvings and folklore.

Julia@Dragonflygems - Thanks so much - for me the trees were a real highlight :) So pleased you enjoyed your "visit" :)

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much - must admit I really was shattered! - another sign of getting older :(

Butterfly house was lovely :) re: the rough sculpture - the one with three figures? It is by a German artist George Baselitz - please see comment above replying to Rosie which gives a bit more information on the sculpture.

Margaret Adamson said...

WOW! what can one say but the whole post of buiding, plants and critters is MAGNIFICENT. Have a good week ahead.

Rosie said...

Thanks for finding out about the statue,its fascinating, I can see the African influences in it but I can't get platform shoes out of my head when I look at it:)

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thanks so much for your very lovely comment. Have a good week too :)

Rosie - Thanks Rosie - I agree about the platform shoes :) Brings back memories - I had a pair I adored with huge platforms (but no heels - sole all the same level!!) :)

Chris Rohrer said...

Now this looks like a place I'd want to visit!!! The gardens are absolutely gorgeous. The Oak trees you in your middle collection of photos are incredible beautiful pieces of natural art. Great shots of all the birds too! I love the Zebra Finches. Pretty little birds. I've always wanted my own secret garden.

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks Chris. The gardens and grounds were really really superb - the best part of the visit for me and there were some beautiful trees in the arboretum! I would love my own secret garden too :)